The New International Encyclopædia/Labor Representation Committee
LABOR REPRESENTATION COMMITTEE. An organization founded by the British Trade Union Congress in accordance with the resolutions passed at its thirty-second annual meeting, in September, 1899, inviting "the coöperation of all the coöperative, socialistic, trade-union, and other working organizations" in an effort "to devise ways and means ... to secure a better representation of the interests of labor in the House of Commons." In accordance with these resolutions, the Labor Representation Committee was organized in 1900, and held its first annual conference February 1, 1901. The aims, structure, and organization of this committee may be gathered from the following resolutions adopted at various conferences and printed as the 'constitution of the committee':
"Labor Candidates.—That this conference is in favor of working-class opinion being represented in the House of Commons by men sympathetic with the aims and demands of the labor movements, and whose candidatures are promoted by one or other of the affiliated societies.
"Labor Party in Parliament.—That this conference is in favor of establishing a distinct labor group in Parliament, who shall have their own whips and agree upon their policy, which must embrace a readiness to coöperate with any party which for the time being may be engaged in promoting legislation in the direct interest of labor, and be equally ready to associate themselves with any party in opposing measures having an opposite tendency; and, further, members of the labor group shall not oppose any candidate whose candidature is being promoted by one of our affiliated societies.
"The Executive.—That the Executive Committee shall consist of thirteen representatives, nine of whom shall represent the trade unions, one the trades councils, one the Fabian Society, two the Independent Labor Party. Such members shall be elected by their respective organizations."
The officers of the committee are a chairman, a vice-chairman, a treasurer, and a secretary, who with nine other members constitute the Executive Committee above described. Each affiliated society is entitled to send one delegate to the annual conference of each 1000 members for whom dues have been paid. National organizations are required to pay 10 shillings per annum for every 1000 members or fraction thereof, while trade councils are entitled to send one representative upon the payment of £1 per annum, and one additional delegate for each 10 shillings paid.
The Labor Representation Committee may be regarded as a skillful compromise between a federation of trade unions and an Independent Labor Party; it enables the trade union to go into politics assisted by the strength of sympathetic organizations not strictly devoted to the interests of a particular trade, such as the Fabian Society, without imperiling the success or permanence of the trade union itself. The method of procedure adopted by the Committee is not to nominate candidates, but 'to recognize' and support candidates who are pledged to the interests of the working people; and they increase their chances of success by confining their activity to selected constituencies where their prospects are favorable.